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At the end of 2006, Post changed the formula for this popular cereal to improve its health content. This change, although tested by Post beforehand to positive reviews, received mainly negative reviews from consumers.
Following this public response, in March 2007, Kraft Foods (then-owner of Post Cereals) introduced a new "Improved Taste" version of the cereal that, the company claimed, would improve "the cereal's taste, texture and appearance while incorporating key nutritional benefits to the product."
Three variations have been marketed, Strawberry Blasted Honeycomb, which added strawberry flavoring, and Chocolate Honeycomb, with chocolate flavoring in the pieces. Another variety Cinna-Graham Honeycomb added cinnamon flavor to the cereal.
On May 1, 2017, Post reformulated its Honeycomb cereal recipe. Reviews of the cereal on retailer websites such as Amazon and Walmart posted after the reformulation date were almost universally negative, 1-star complaints about the new recipe. In April 2018, after refusing to comment on the recipe change since it has been released, Post began replying to customer complaints that they would be returning to the old recipe at some point during the summer of 2018.
The product's ingredients are listed as:
- corn flour, sugar, whole grain oat flour, modified cornstarch, corn syrup, honey, salt, turmeric (color), wheat starch.
- Ferric Orthophosphate (source of iron), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Zinc Oxide (source of zinc), Thiamin Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Calcium Pantothenate (a B-Vitamin), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Folic Acid.
The product's ingredients prior to May 2017 are listed as:
- corn flour and bran blend (corn flour, whole grain corn flour, corn bran), sugar, whole grain oat flour, honey, salt, yellow 5, BHT added to packaging material to preserve product freshness.
- Vitamins & minerals: niacinamide (B vitamin), reduced iron, zinc oxide (source of zinc), Vitamin B6, Vitamin A palmitate, riboflavin (Vitamin B2), thiamin mononitrate (Vitamin B1), folic acid (B vitamin), Vitamin B12, Vitamin D
When Bran Blend, defined as whole grain corn flour and corn bran, was included in the ingredient list, the fiber content was tripled (from 1g to 3g per serving). This put the cereal in Kraft's Sensible Solution program.
Advertising and marketing
During the 1970s and 1980s, television commercials featured visitors to a children's clubhouse called the Honeycomb Hideout in which the visitor arrives, initially hostile, and exclaims a need for a "big" cereal. Then, the kids introduce the visitor to the cereal, winning over the visitor, examining the size of the cereal bits with a tape measure and singing the jingle:
- Honeycomb's big...yeah yeah yeah!
- It's not small...no no no!
- Honeycomb's got...a big big bite!
- Big big (taste/crunch) in a big big bite!
During the 1980s, the cereal offered the Honeycomb Hideout Club for children, distributing badges, membership cards and clubhouse toy incentives on specially marked box tops.
Honeycomb Kid sought what he called "The Honeycomb Secret." Honeycomb Kid had learned from his prior adventures that the secret consisted of three separate parts: The first was the crunch, the second was the shape, however the third and most important answer had always eluded him. In the last installment of his first commercial appearances, Honeycomb Kid discovers the third component of the Honeycomb secret to be the taste.
Another set of Honeycomb Kid commercials were made in the 1980s in which a child athlete finished practicing, then came up to a table with Honeycomb cereal, exclaimed it was his or her favorite cereal, to where the older guys at the table would somewhat mock the "little kid" or "little guy" for wanting "big Honeycomb", to where the kid would go, "Little kid (guy)?! Watch this!" then go and show off his or her skills to them, thoroughly impressing them (saying "Big stuff!" and "Honeycomb kid!" as they watch) and being accepted by them ("I didn't know you were a Honeycomb kid!") and the commercial ends with the kid happily eating a bowl of Honeycomb.
In 1995, a mascot, Crazy Craving, was introduced as a wild-haired, marsupial-like cartoon character who rabidly craves Honeycomb cereal and whom children in the commercials transform into. Its catch-phrase was "Me Want Honeycomb". The name Crazy Craving means that the character is the anthropomorphism of hunger.
Bernard, the Bee Boy
A more recent commercial introduces Bernard, a boy raised by bees. He is found and attempted to be socialized. Although he had clearly been a feral child, he apparently cannot argue the fact that he is a 'bee' not a 'boy,' and he enjoys Honeycomb. In a later commercial, a man gives a safari-like tour for the bee boy, luring him with Honeycomb. In a commercial released in 2010, a second bee boy was introduced played by Canadian actor Joel Cox.
Mini scale models and license plates
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In 1969, one of Post Cereal's most profitable promotions was launched for the twentieth time in as many years. Free scale models of four different 1969 Mercury automobiles were packed one to a box of Honeycomb. Offered in six authentic '69 Mercury colors, the entire set included 24 different cars. Since these were not offered by mail, it took a lot of Honeycomb to acquire the entire collection.
The Mercurys were followed by a series of generic racing cars (1970), an offering of marble-powered dune buggies (1973) and a small model of the Flintmobile, from "The Flintstones" television series (1975). By then, Honeycomb had become the source for automotive toys from Post.
While miniature license plates had been a cereal premium mainstay since 1953, Honeycomb continued the tradition into the 1970s and 1980s with their free "in pack" mini-license plate promotion. One miniature state license plate was free inside each box, with the ability to order the whole set of 50 plates by mail for a few dollars. Once, Post also included plates that said "LUCKY" and the finder of those plates won a BMX bike. The commercial for this showed a girl winning and later riding the BMX bike.
- "Ralcorp Announces Completion of Post Cereals Merger". corporate-ir.net (Press release). Ralcorp Holdings, Inc. Archived from the original on 2008-12-18. Retrieved 2019-12-10.
- Rahmati, Rita. "Bernard: the boy who was raised by the (Honeycomb) bees". The Gazette. Retrieved 21 November 2019.